Home builders and sellers of upgraded homes with “green” features want their prospective buyers to know about these features because they likely spent a good amount of money on them. But do the buyers always care? Will they pay extra — and does “green” actually sell a home? The answer is, it all depends.
The feature, fixture or finish?
Buyers pay for features they can touch, feel and show off to their friends and family — the spa-like bath, media room or a chef’s kitchen. They probably won’t pay extra when it comes to the home improvements they can’t see or appreciate, such as the roof, boiler or new plumbing.
Green features fall somewhere in between. A certain “cool factor” exists for solar panels or an energy-saving thermostat you control from your smartphone. And, for that reason, a buyer will pay extra. But will they pay extra for a home with the less-exciting features like reclaimed hardwood and unique air filtration systems, compared to a similar home lacking these? The answer, for the most part, is no.
Money in my pocket?
Environmentally friendly items, without a cool factor, won’t excite consumers about to spend a chunk of their life savings on a home. But if a green home feature means saving money, either near-term or down the road, buyers usually want to hear more.
In the case of a resale, it’s difficult for the seller to recover the costs, dollar-for-dollar, of solar panels or a high-tech thermostat. The expense of that upgrade is built into the value of the home, just like the remodeled kitchen or other features. But this represents the best scenario for buyers, who can receive the value of the green feature, and appreciate any coolness benefit at the same time.
Smaller market, but a growing one
A growing subset of today’s market is concerned for the environment, wants to give back and is less concerned about the financials of green features. This group will pay extra, whether the features are cool or not. The cost savings, while a nice bonus, won’t drive their decision-making.
Green features are here to stay, and today’s consumers will see them when shopping for homes. Consider the impact on the environment alongside the cost savings, and weigh that with your particular real estate decision. While ultimately a personal consideration, like location, floor plan and bedroom count, green features are increasingly becoming a choice worth prioritizing.